Take the lead in recruiting this season

written by Erica Quam

How would you fill in the blank to this statement? 

My job as a college coach would be great…if it weren’t for __________________.

If I surveyed one hundred college coaches, I'd bet 99 of them would answer ‘recruiting.’

One of the biggest challenges coaches complain about is recruiting.

Here's are three questions I always ask them:

1. What's your mindset?

Most coaches I know hate recruiting. When you take that mindset (and negative energy) into one of the most important things you do as a collegiate coach, it's probably not going to get you the results you want.

Coaches tell me they hate recruiting...because it's 'sales-y'.

The truth is most coaches haven't been taught HOW to recruit...so they lack the confidence to do it well.

Recruiting helps your prospective student-athletes achieve their goals and dreams. 

It's your platform to share your values, strengths, tools, and resources with student-athletes who will benefit from them.

Recruiting is a service!

It can be a win-win for everyone...when it feels good. 

When it doesn't feel good...and you find yourself forcing, demanding, and convincing...maybe it's simply not the right fit.

Pay attention to how the process feels to you.  Those sensations can give you a lot of information. 

When the recruiting process work, it's a good fit for you and for them. 

2. How's your consistency?

To win in recruiting you have to be both a pioneer and an engineer.

Coaches are great at coaching - in the moment. You love coming up with solutions and ways to help people - on the spot. (That's the pioneer piece.)

Because you're good at that kind of in-the-moment stuff...you think that everything should work that way.  To lead in recruiting you've got to lay out all the groundwork - well before July 1st. 

You've got to be consistent and take consistent action. 

Consistent action equals consistent results. 

You can’t wait for ‘the ideal time’ to get clear on what you'll offer, or write an email, or make regular calls.

Recruiting depends a lot of competing factors: your timeline vs. their timeline, your schedule vs. their schedule…(plus a few other factors.)

To be consistent, you've got to set up systems.  You've got to become an engineer.  If you don't - things will get left undone and slip through the cracks.

Setting up systems is simply the ability to answer the question (for yourself, your staff, your team, and for recruits)..."this is how it works" in my program.

If you're not clear on your recruiting process neither will anyone else. 

  1. Write down a list of everything you do in recruiting (ie. Recruiting contacts, Recruiting calls, Recruiting trips , Home visits , Scholarship offers, Academic aid, Housing, )
  2. Answer these three questions for each thing you do: What's the next step? What do they need to do next? What will you do next?
  3. Keep your answers compiled in one place...and then change things up, fine tune, and edit this resource as you go. Do not expect yourself to do this perfectly!

These three steps alone will help you, your staff, and every recruit and parent you interact with!

3. How well are you leading?

You are the leader in the recruiting process.  

If you're not the leader, then the recruits, their parents, and the high school coach will be leading you through THEIR process and expectations instead.

Figure out as many things as you can - well in advance - so you're not making decisions on the fly. 

Part of leading your recruits is teaching them about your recruiting process: how it differs from other programs, why you're doing things this way, and how it can benefit your prospective student-athletes directly.

Be clear on what you offer. 

Most coaches I know stay so busy they don't ever sit down and take the time to get clear.  They just spin their wheels, dread the process, and worry about everything.

Take 30 minutes to get really clear on what you do well and what makes you stand out - so you can talk confidently to prospective student-athletes, coaches, and parents.

Don't get on a call and blab your way through a bunch of features...anyone can do that.

The recruit on the other end won't be listening until it's something that's relate-able that they care about. 

Articulate the benefits to your student-athletes: "This is what we offer and here's why that's so important."

When you do that it feels better and you'll be more confident in your conversations.

Recruiting is not about convincing. Sharing the features and benefits of your team and what you offer as a coach gives athletes an opportunity to begin to self-select.

The athletes who will be a good fit for your team will be able to envision themselves as part of your program - through all of different avenues of communication - in emails, on the phone, and even through social media.

Share one thing you'll commit to doing to step up as a leader in the recruiting process this season in the comments below.